Monday, May 2, 2011

Riverwood Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Wow, glad to be racing tris again, the road races are fun, but I would love to see some of those burners run that fast off the bike! That might take a little wind from their sails, if they don’t drown during the swim!

Well the wife and I headed about 1 ½ hours north to a little town called Clayton for the Riverwood Golf and Athletic Club Triathalon (or just Riverwood, for short) for a neat little sprint race (300 yard pool, 14 mile bike and 3.1 mile run). Well despite getting up at 0430 (4:30am for the civvies out there!) and the weather being clear and 54, this day had a lot of possibilities.

We pulled into the race site at about 0630, which would have been earlier, but I hydrated so much, my tiny child’s bladder was overflowing, so a few rest stops were in order. But got in to the packet pick up, and grabbed some freebies on the way out, and looked at the transition area, and lo and behold, it was a) empty, b)just opened up and the best part c) no assigned rack area, just “this rack for #55-70”, so I hustled back to the car to get my bike and placed it right at the end, facing the “bike out” gate! EPIC WIN! So after heading to get my chip and body marked, which was too fun. The poor kid who just got there as a volunteer watched a Clydesdale get marked, so he proceeds to mark a big “C” on my calf, which I caught after the fact, so I erased it and asked him to just put my USAT age, 38, and I told him that the “C” was for Clydesdales, folks over 200 pounds, and he apologized up and down and I told him to not worry about it, he was so flustered. But that made me think “hmm, maybe I could lose a few more pounds now!”

I finished setting up my area, I headed to the pool to check it out, and it felt a bit chilly, but hey, it was only 300 yards! Watched a few folks start before me and wow, what carnage, it looked like Tolson Pool with a bunch of SF swim team wannabes thrashing about! Oh well, only saw a few folks get swam over. I talked to the nice females that surrounded my swim start time (I still swim like a brick, but now I am a little better, maybe like a paver stone now), and asked them not to swim over the top of me, but we all agreed to touch the toes and move over, so things went well on that aspect.

As my start time got closer, I was really ready to get the swim over with, and started out flying out of the blocks, perhaps a bit too fast. I passed the nice lady that was in front of me and had a lot of open water ahead, so I just powered on. Somewhere in the 2nd 100 yards, I decided to try a little known technique called “in-pool hydration”. What that entails is mistiming your exhale / inhale, and sucking up about 3 liters of pool water, which, is NOT fun. It took me a stroke to recover, cough the water out (yummy, not chlorinated!) and get back into rhythm, which made for a LONG 2nd half of the swim. But I survived, despite my best attempts to drown myself and took the 75-100 run to the transition area. (Swim time - 5:19, T1 time – 1:30)

I hit my rack area and got my breathing under control, put on my helmet and glasses, shoes, race belt and stood there for a second debating should I take my HR monitor, world peace and a few other things while trying to stick a GU in my tri top (no luck there), threw them both on my bag, grabbed the bike and sprinted out of T1. I got up to speed fairly well, despite the twisting and turning exit to T1, I got up to speed, got aero and started to move out. I yelled at a female with a hat stuck in her quick release, but she wasn’t paying attention, but pointed it out to her buddy right next to her, and I guess they caught it before it was sucked into her real wheel, which would have been a BAD THING. So turned onto the main road and was greeted with a nice light head wind, but did see the first of many folks on the bike, I gave a quick “on your left” and powered on by. To say the least that I was “Stupid fast….MOUNTAINTOP!” (sorry, I love that commercial) would be an understatement as I was looking ahead and picking folks off left and right (no I didn’t pass anyone on the right!) The bike course was as advertised, rolling, and I was constantly shifting gears to keep my cadence high and before the hills on the 2nd half of the course. A few times on the downhills I hit about 33mph and climbed on a few at 18mph, which was a little disappointing considered I wanted to break 40 minutes on the bike and average over 21 mph, which I both missed. But as far as the climbing strong and attacking, I was spot on and kept pace with the leaders I found out later. But there was only one time when I passed someone that I almost had to cross the double yellow, and that was when either a skinny kid or woman was weaving all over the road (drinking and biking?), but had to check up for a second to get by them, but other than that, my closing and passing was great! Loved it. Well before I knew it, the bike was about over, I came roaring in to the transition area, a pulled my classic flying dismount (I tend to hit my front brake after I jump off, making the bike endo a bit), and ran into T2 ready to run! (Bike Time – 41:44 / 20.2 mph, T2 – 1:01)

The T2 was a bit better, I took my helmet off, and my glasses went with them, striped off the shoes, slid into my running shoes grabbed my watchband and 305, and started to run for the “run out” gate. It took me a little bit of time to clear the bike, switch to run and hit start on the watch, all while running. Well saw the wife snap some photos, so I tried to suck it in, but at that point didn’t care, I had people to catch! The first little part of the run was down hill (YEA!) and flattened out a bit as it twisted around a lake and houses. But the good news/bad news (GN/BN) was that what goes down, must come up, and those hills hurt a bit on the way back. Ow! But kept going hard, even with a nasty rubbing on my left Achilles, which I found out was from the chip strap, which rubbed it raw, double ouch! But I got up the last hill and applied enough speed to ensure I wasn’t going to get caught from behind, and crossed the finish and had to take a few deep breaths to keep me from puking. I didn’t yak, because that would have been…awkward! But finished up the run in 21:11, not too shabby for as hilly as the course was. My wife and I headed over and got some refreshments and checked the prelims, and could find my name for the longest, until I saw it on the first page, 12th overall and 2nd of 7 in my age group! I knew that it might not hold up, since I had at least 25 in my age group, so many more folks to come. So I had to wait and sweat the results, so I headed over and got some pizza that I had heard a bunch about, and it was as advertised, yummy. Good stuff! In the end, I ended up with my first podium finish in a tri, 2nd out of 25 in my age group, and held on to 14th overall, with a finishing time of 1:10:26, about 5 minutes below my goal time!

Good times at the race, even if we had to wait around for the awards (took 2nd in AG), but I’ll take it! The best part was going up to get my award, and seeing the look of surprise on a bunch of folks faces since I am not the typical triathlete size of 6’2”, 150 pounds, so that was fun in itself. The other cool part was meeting up with Ken Matthews, a “” buddy, and got him a few pictures of him finishing and got to cheer him on during the run (which he beat me in!), but again, great job Ken, now we have to get your swimming working and then you’ll be flying! Great job.

Well no rest for the wary, since I have the White Lake Sprint I this weekend, so gotta keep the train rolling! I’ll post some photos when I get them re-uploaded, had sending errors this morning, but they will get posted

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